AUTHORNdiaye, Pap A.
TITLENylon and Bombs: DuPont and the March of Modern America
PUBLISHERJohns Hopkins University Press
CITYBaltimore, MD

This book examines the influence of E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) during the mid-20th century rise in American-civilian mass consumption and the escalation of the military-industrial complex. It addresses the significant role that DuPont played in the shaping of American life as we know it, and illustrates how the seemingly beneficent technological boom prompted by DuPont paradoxically undermined the “utopian” industrial ideology of the century. Highlighting the profound cultural and political impacts of DuPont’s work with synthetic fibers—namely nylon—and nuclear components, the book recounts the rise of the trailblazing chemical engineers who were the foundation of DuPont’s controversial success, the monumental development of nylon, and DuPont's collaboration with the U.S. Government on the Manhattan Project during World War II. The final chapter concerns the turbulent post-war decades, when DuPont’s period of commercial success ended, as social and political forces challenged the chemical industry in general and looked down on nuclear arms specifically, resulting in DuPont’s fall from popularity. Translated from French by Elborg Forster, the book also contains an essay on sources and historiography and several photographs.

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